BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dense Reading Today

About to drive to LAX to pick up me brother.

But first - the latest cherry-picking story - from the National Journal:

Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel

Excerpts:
Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative ties with Al Qaeda, according to government records and current and former officials with firsthand knowledge of the matter.
We know this.

"This" is all the stuff that Richard clarke was screaming about...back in the day.

However...
The information was provided to Bush on September 21, 2001 during the "President's Daily Brief," a 30- to 45-minute early-morning national security briefing. Information for PDBs has routinely been derived from electronic intercepts, human agents, and reports from foreign intelligence services, as well as more mundane sources such as news reports and public statements by foreign leaders.
The Bushies are still keeping this PDB from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

They have admitted that the PDB exists, but won't turn it over.
One of the more intriguing things that Bush was told during the briefing was that the few credible reports of contacts between Iraq and Al Qaeda involved attempts by Saddam Hussein to monitor the terrorist group.

Saddam viewed Al Qaeda as well as other theocratic radical Islamist organizations as a potential threat to his secular regime.

At one point, analysts believed, Saddam considered infiltrating the ranks of Al Qaeda with Iraqi nationals or even Iraqi intelligence operatives to learn more about its inner workings, according to records and sources.

The September 21, 2001, briefing was prepared at the request of the president, who was eager in the days following the terrorist attacks to learn all that he could about any possible connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.
Yes: Our Kid was very eager to "learn all that he could about any possible connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda."

AS LONG AS THERE WAS ONE.

Here's a key passage from the "National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States" report.

The commission was chaired by Tom Kean and paid for with your tax dollar:
Clarke has written that on the evening of September 12, President Bush told him and some of his staff to explore possible Iraqi links to 9/11. "See if Sad-dam did this," Clarke recalls the President telling them. "See if he's linked in any way."

While he believed the details of Clarke's account to be incorrect, President Bush acknowledged that he might well have spoken to Clarke at some point, asking him about Iraq.
Cool.

Let's get some more info from Richard Clarke, via his interview in the Guardian, dated March 23, 2004 :
JB: Condoleezza Rice argued today that when President Bush was asking you to find evidence linking September 11 to Iraq, he was simply showing due diligence, asking you to explore the options.

RC: That's very funny.

There are two ways of asking. There's: 'check every possibility - don't assume its al-Qaida look at everybody'. That's due diligence. Then there's the: 'I want you to find every shred of evidence that it was Iraq and Saddam' - and said in a very emphatic and intimidating way, and the other people who were with me got the same impression as I did.

This was not due diligence. This was: 'come back with a memo that says it was an Iraqi attack'.

JB: And when you didn't find any evidence, the memo was bounced back?

RC: Yes.
Back to the original article (from the National Journal):
The highly classified CIA assessment was distributed to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the president's national security adviser and deputy national security adviser, the secretaries and undersecretaries of State and Defense, and various other senior Bush administration policy makers, according to government records.
Simply put, the highly classified assessment was sent to the Neo-Cons...and they threw it in the trash.

Back to Richard Clarke:
B: Do you think they came into office with (Iraq) as a plan?

RC: If you look at the so-called Vulcans group [Bush's pre-election foreign policy advisors] talked about publicly in seminars in Washington. They clearly wanted to go after Iraq and they clearly wanted to do this reshaping of the middle east and they used the tragedy of 9/11 as an excuse to test their theories.

*

JB: What do you think drove these people on Iraq?

RC: Some are ideologues - they have a superpower vision of us reshaping the Middle East. Changing the historical balance. Condi Rice has this phrase: 'We needed to change the middle east so terrorists would not fly aircrafts into buildings'.

*

JB: What was Cheney's role in all this.

RC: Quite enormous. Huge. Very quietly and behind the scenes he sat in all the national security meetings chaired by Condi Rice, and no vice president had done that before. He would listen and then give his thoughts. But he bought the compromise that it was al-Qaida first, Iraq second.

*

JB: Did the Pentagon and the Office of Special Plans play an important role in the processing of intelligence?

RC: Certainly.

The people in Rumsfeld's office and in Wolfowitz's operation cherry-picked intelligence to select the intelligence to support their views.

They never did the due diligence on the intelligence that professional intelligence analysts are trained to do. [The OSP] would go through the intelligence reports including the ones that the CIA was throwing out. They stitched it together they would send it out, send it over to Cheney. All the stuff that a professional would have thrown out.

As soon as 9/11 happened people like Rumsfeld saw it was opportunity. During that first week after September 11, the decision was made.

It was confirmed by president We should do Afghanistan first. But the resources necessary to do a good job in Afghanistan were withheld. There was not enough to go in fast, to go in enough to secure the country. Troops were held back. There were 11,000 troops in Afghanistan. There were fewer in whole country than police in the borough of Manhattan.
Final excerpt from Kean's commission.
On the afternoon of 9/11, according to contemporaneous notes, Secretary Rumsfeld instructed General Myers to obtain quickly as much information as possible. The notes indicate that he also told Myers that he was not simply interested in striking empty training sites.

(Rumsfeld) thought the U.S. response should consider a wide range of options and possibilities. The secretary said his instinct was to hit Saddam Hussein at the same time-not only Bin Ladin.

Secretary Rumsfeld later explained that at the time, he had been considering either one of them, or perhaps someone else, as the responsible party.
Keep tying it together, people.

National Journal:
"You can't distinguish between Al Qaeda and Saddam when you talk about the war on terror," President Bush said on September 25, 2002.

The next day, Rumsfeld said, "We have what we consider to be credible evidence that Al Qaeda leaders have sought contacts with Iraq who could help them acquire … weapons-of-mass-destruction capabilities."


Keep tying it together.

More later...

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